How Corporate Giants Are Leveraging
Blockchain for Business Innovation

By: Jan-Jaap Jager

Blockchain has been making headway with big names and brands in recent months. We’re starting to see global household names and corporations adopting this technology for a number of reasons. Starbucks has launched its Odyssey experience, which brings a sense of community to its customers. Members can buy and collect digital stamps and NFTs and get exclusive offers to be part of new and immersive experiences. The program has proved so popular with fans that their first paid collection of NFTs—each priced at $100—sold out in under 20 minutes. Similarly, Nike’s SWOOSH Web3-enabled platform offers customers the chance to participate in creating and learning about digital items and NFTs. This has included the recent launch of their first collection of digital sneakers, based on their iconic Air Force One range. 

Another example is Coca-Cola, which has formed a partnership with Diginex to build supply chain tracing technology focused on promoting human rights. They have also launched their own collection of NFTs.

These initiatives have drawn much interest for their community and brand-building potential. But the scope of big businesses adopting blockchain spreads wider than this. And while these adoptions mark a shift in blockchain recognition for large corporations and high-street brands, it is simply another step in blockchain’s natural life cycle. We are moving into a stage where blockchain will become a layer of infrastructure in software, apps, and businesses around the world. Corporate giants leveraging blockchain speak more widely to its potential for many businesses.

So, what are some of the other benefits that blockchain can bring businesses? 

One of the major benefits blockchain brings for consumer purposes is its transparency. Coca-Cola’s partnership with Diginex uses blockchain for ESG supply chain traceability. It illustrates Coca-Cola’s credentials, providing information that supports its due diligence and corporate responsibility, such as meeting working condition requirements. Not only will this have a real-world impact in terms of improving working conditions across the world, but it also builds a brand.

Consumers overwhelmingly want brands and products that are ethical and sustainable. Products that make ESG claims have grown 28 points in the last 5-year period, versus 20 points for those that do not. Two-thirds of customers will pay more for products that are sustainable, while major brands have seen boycotts in recent years following accusations of forced labor and affiliations with human rights violations. So, being able to prove ethical credentials via blockchain has real profit and brand benefits. 

These developments reflect the enormous potential that blockchain has for social good more broadly and on a global scale. Globally, it’s estimated that there are 1.4 billion people who not have a bank account. Yet the unbanked do often have access to smartphones and digital technology. Research has shown that 60 percent of those unbanked in the USA have a smartphone, while 65 million unbanked women in the MENA region own a mobile phone. As such, blockchain and digital finance have a real opportunity to help people access financial services and make payments. This type of financial inclusion can promote equality and start to reduce poverty in many parts of the world.

Supply chain transparency has huge potential for other types of businesses, too. In particular, that includes any product that is perishable or where storage or transportation conditions are vital—e.g., a medication that might need to be kept at a certain temperature. Blockchain’s transparency and record would mean greater assurance for consumers or patients.

Furthermore, blockchain offers businesses the possibility to learn more about their customers. For example, previously when a customer purchased a pair of sneakers in-store, such as a collector’s item, the store would have no idea what became of it. The sneaker resale market is expected to reach $30 billion by 2030. Nike’s 2007 limited-edition "Freddy Krueger" Dunk Lows can reach resale prices of $40,000 to $95,000

Now, blockchain integration and NFTs mean that Nike will be able to keep track of their products and understand the motivations behind customers' purchases, as well as whether they are reselling. A technology like NFTs can become a huge financial benefit to the artist and the manufacturer of products that can potentially reach the resale market. They will not only be able to track their products but could also continuously earn royalties on sales. Another benefit of blockchain is that it reduces


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